So one thing is clear in all sports including MLS, there is no place like home. In MLS the home team wins most of the matches, no team in the league this year has won more matches on the road than they have at home. In fact only Toronto FC with 2 road wins and 2 home wins are even close, the top teams in both the East and West all get a result in a majority of their home matches.
- Real Salt Lake – 8-2-3 at home, 5-6-3 on the road
- Montreal – 9-1-3 at home, 3-6-2 on the road
- Los Angeles – 8-1-2 at home, 4-8-2 on the road
and on and on, so while one could spend a lot of time trying to analysis in depth the remaining schedules of MLS teams, looking at who they play but to be brutally honest I think that simply looking at how teams have performed at home and on the road so far this year provides a great deal of insight on how they likely will perform for the remainder of the year. Now it isn’t bullet proof, we have seen teams get hot down the stretch or go cold but averages are fairly good indicators. So let’s take a look at the how things look like:
Real Salt Lake has average 2.08 points per match at home, and 1.28 points per match on the road thru their 27 matches played earning 45 points. RSL has 4 remaining home matches so if trends stay the same they would earn 8 more points at home, they have 3 more matches on the road and should get 4 points on the road. So with 45 points earned and a projected 12 points, RSL will likely end the season with 57 points.
Currently in 2nd place in the overall table is Montreal with 41 points earned in 24 matches played their ppm is a bit higher right now than RSL’s (1.71 to 1.67) but when we look at their 2.31 points per match at home and their 1.0 points per match on the road over their remaining schedule we see they have 4 home matches remaining and should get 9 points from them, they have 6 road matches remaining and should get 6 points from them for 15 more points. So Montreal will likely end the season with 56 points.
Third place is currently held by the LA Galaxy with 40 points from 25 matches, they average 2.0 points per match at home and 1.0 ppm on the road. The Galaxy have 6 home matches remaining so they should get 12 points from those matches, 3 road matches should provide 3 more points for a total of 15 points to give them a likely season total of 55 points.
The New York Red Bulls, Sporting KC and Colorado Rapids all have 39 points from 26 matches. NYRB are averaging 2.0 ppm at home and 1.07 ppm on the road, 5 remaining home matches should give them 10 more points, while 3 road matches should provide 3 more points, giving them a total of 52 points at the end of the season.
Sporting KC average 1.62 ppm at home and 1.38 on the road, with 4 matches at home and 4 on the road they should get 6 points from each for 12 more points to give them a season total of 51 points.
The Colorado Rapids average 1.79 ppm at home and 1.17 ppm on the road, with just 3 matches at home they should get 5 points in those matches and in their 5 remaining road matches they should end up with 6 more points for a season total of 50 points.
The Portland Timbers also have 39 points but they have only played 25 matches, their season has broken down like this so far, an average of 2.08 ppm at home and 1.08 ppm on the road. With 5 home matches remaining they should pick up 10 points there and 4 points from their 4 remaining road matches for a season total of 53 points.
The Philadelphia Union have 38 points from their 26 current matches, they are averaging 1.69 ppm at home and 1.23 ppm on the road, they have 4 matches left at home and 4 on the road and should pick up 7 and 5 points respectively for a season total of 50 points.
Thing get interesting when you look at the team currently in 9th place in the overall table the Seattle Sounders, who have played the fewest matches in MLS so far this season with just 23 matches played. With 37 points in those 23 matches they are averaging 2.18 ppm at home and 1.08 ppm on the road, so with 6 home matches left they should pick up 13 points and with 5 road matches left they should get 5 more points, that would leave them with a season total of 55 points.
Normally with this number of matches left in the season you might have 5 or 6 teams with a legit shot at winning the Supporters’ Shield but even after the 9 teams above there are 6 more teams within 11 points of RSL who sit at the top. FC Dallas sit with 37 points from 26 matches, they average 2.0 ppm at home and 0.85 ppm on the road and should be able to add 11 points to their current total to end the season with 48 points.
Both the Vancouver Whitecaps and New England Revolution have 36 points from 25 matches, Vancouver is averaging 2.08 ppm at home and 0.75 ppm on the road, so with 4 more home matches they should get 8 points, and 5 road matches they should get 4 points. That would have the Whitecaps end up with 48 points at the end of the season.
The Revolution are averaging 1.62 ppm at home, and 1.25 ppm on the road, so with 4 home matches left they should pick up 6 points and the same from their 5 road matches to end the season like the Whitecaps with 48 points.
The Houston Dynamo are sitting on 46 points like Vancouver and New England but they have played just 24 matches, so their 2.0 ppm home average and 1.0 ppm road average should see them pick up 15 more points with 5 home and road matches, which would jump them up to 51 points at the end of the season.
Now to be fair I have to include the Chicago Fire and San Jose with 34 points each. The Fire have played just 24 matches and are averaging 1.90 ppm so in their 4 matches they should pick up 8 points at home, and with 0.82 ppm on the road and 6 road matches giving them 5 more points to end the season with 47 points.
The Quakes have played 26 of their matches and average 2.15 ppm at home, but just 0.46 ppm on the road, with 4 home matches left they should pick up 9 points and in their 4 road matches they should pick up 2 more points to end the season with 45 points.
So this is likely how the overall table for the top 15 will end up looking:
- Real Salt Lake – 57 points
- Montreal Impact – 56 points
- LA Galaxy – 55 points
- Seattle Sounders – 55 points
- Portland Timbers – 53 points
- New York Red Bulls – 52 points
- Sporting KC – 51 points
- Houston Dynamo – 51 points
- Colorado Rapids – 50 points
- Philadelphia Union – 50 points
- New England Revolution – 48 points
- Vancouver Whitecaps – 48 points
- FC Dallas – 48 points
- Chicago Fire – 47 points
- San Jose Earthquakes – 45 points
Yes the Columbus Crew, Chivas USA, DC United, and Toronto FC will battle for the #1 draft pick in the 2014 MLS Draft.
It could also give up playoffs that look like this:
East #1 Montreal vs. winner of East #4 (Houston) vs. East #5 (Philadelphia)
East # 3 Sporting KC vs. East #2 New York Red Bulls
West #1 Real Salt Lake vs. winner of West #4 (Portland) vs West #5 (Colorado)
West #2 LA Galaxy vs. West #3 Seattle Sounders
Oh my that would make for an interesting playoffs for RSL, who could end up facing Portland 6 times this season, or the Rapids 5 times. Anyhow, these are just averages, nothing more and nothing less, we have seen MLS teams get hot at the end of the season and go on huge runs (the Galaxy went 6-1-3 over their last 10 last year) or cold streaks (Vancouver went 1-6-3 over their last 10 last year) so anything can and is likely to happen but averages are perhaps the best way of trying to forecast the future and if things go to average, well it could be a great season for RSL.
Footnote – There are also 5 teams on that list that are now taking part in CCL action, LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact, Sporting KC, Houston Dynamo, and San Jose Earthquakes. While the new format of the CCL limits the travel and schedule congestion it used to present for teams with a lot of matches left it could pose some issues and impact their overall performance.
That’s How I See It